The college football coaching carousel made a stop in Chattanooga last season.
It could be coming back around this offseason, with a bigger horse the target.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman recently was mentioned as a candidate for the Delaware vacancy. Now Richmond is looking like a strong possibility to have an opening and want him back there.
Delaware has gone 4-7 for back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1938-39. Dave Brock was fired as head coach on Oct. 16 after a 2-4 start to the 2016 campaign, and the Blue Hens went 19-22 during his three-plus seasons.
UTC lost wide receivers coach Will Healy to Austin Peay's head coaching position last season, and he took then-defensive line coach Marcus West and director of football operations Carter Crutchfield with him.
Attempts to reach Huesman for comment Monday were unsuccessful.
Richmond coach Danny Rocco has been considered a front-runner for the Delaware job after stating on Nov. 30 that he would weigh other coaching offers in the offseason while also questioning the vision of the Spiders' program. He was scheduled to meet with officials from both Delaware and Richmond on Monday, but in the afternoon — according to CoachingSearch.com — he also was set to meet with officials from Temple University, which won the American Athletic Conference of the Football Bowl Subdivision and lost its coach to Baylor University.
Rocco was expected to make a decision about his future no later than today, according to a tweet from Marc Davis, the sports director at WWBT NBC 12 in Richmond, Va.
If Rocco leaves Richmond, Huesman was expected to be the main target as his successor, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Huesman was the Spiders' defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2008, culminating in a national championship, and since then is 59-37 in eight seasons as the Mocs' head coach, including a 36-16 mark in the last four seasons and a 25-5 record in Southern Conference games in that span. Three of those ended in at least a share of SoCon championships.
The Mocs have been in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for three consecutive seasons, falling 41-35 to top-ranked Sam Houston State to finish the 2016 season 9-4. The Bearkats' coach, K.C. Keeler, formerly coached at Delaware and also is considered a candidate for the Temple job.
Huesman makes $230,738 annually and is under contract through the 2020 season. For perspective, Rocco makes $437,672 per season and Brock made in the $300,000 range, with one report suggesting he made $376,000.
If Huesman leaves, he has a buyout clause in his contract of just over $1 million.
Townson done playing
Offensive lineman Hunter Townson, who has started 37 games in his three-year UTC career, announced Monday that he will not play next season.
"After lots of thought and prayer, I have decided that this season will be my last. I have decided that I will forgo my last season of eligibility," the former Ider (Ala.) High School star posted on his Facebook account. "In 2012, I made a similar decision to forgo my last semester of high school and graduated early to enroll at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
"Over these last four years, I have had some of the best times of my life and also had to face different kinds of adversity; however, I believe that this experience has taught me many life lessons that have made me a better man. I thank God every day for allowing me to play the game I love and for the friendships that I have developed over these years that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It's been an honor to go to battle with my brothers, and I couldn't be prouder of what we have accomplished over these last few years. The decision was a very difficult one; however, I know it is time to hang up the pads. I am very excited to see what the future holds for me, and thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years."
The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder battled injuries throughout the 2016 season, yet started 11 games though missing contests against Furman and Sam Houston State. He makes UTC three starting offensive linemen who won't be back next season, as Corey Levin has used up his eligibility and center Jacob Revis will graduate and not return. Backup center Alex Hooper also will graduate and won't return.
The Mocs have commitments from three offensive linemen: Clayton McConnell from Foley High School in Alabama; John Robinson from Cleburne County in Heflin, Ala.; and Jack Doherty from Franklin Road Academy in Nashville.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.